Rolfe, chairman, The Dove Foundation
How many times have you come out of a movie that was
almost a good experience, with the following words
running through your mind? "If only they hadn't
included (you fill in the blank)—"that gross language,"
"that bedroom scene," "that bloody stabbing"!
You are not alone. Those words frequently run through
the minds of reviewers here at The Dove Foundation as
they leave their respective preview screenings. We could
have added 24 movies to our Dove Family-Approved list
since January 2005, if only…
Here are a few examples of films that almost passed
muster, along with the laments of disappointed
Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon was over the top in sexual
Reviewer's Comments: Unfortunately, the entire movie surrounds an unwed couple
who are clearly having a sexual relationship. At one
point in the film, Lindsay confronts Ben with the news
that she is "late" (and I don't mean for an
appointment). Due to this single reoccurring element
Dove is unable to award this film our "Family-Approved"
In recent years, fornication (let's call it what it is)
has crept into the bedroom in too many romantic
comedies. The premarital sex was unnecessary in this
storyline. Lindsey and Ben could easily have remained
sexually pure without diminishing the fun or funny side
of this otherwise entertaining film.
HITCH, starring Will Smith, Eva Mendes and Kevin
James missed the mark in language.
I would like to award this film the Dove Seal, but it does
not meet the criteria. There are many good lessons in
this movie, but language blocks it from being a family
When was the last time you exited a movie, thinking,
"This film would have been so much better, if only
they'd added a few more F-words."? Language was the
main reason we could not award the Dove Seal to 20 of
the 24 nearly-approved titles.
starring Cedric the Entertainer and Mike Epps, Regina
Hall and Gabrielle Union was a bus wreck waiting to
happen, due to harsh language.
Reviewer's Comments: The reason we cannot award the Dove Seal to "The
Honeymooners" is because of foul language. There is
strong profanity, and Ralph isn't even the one saying
it. In this remake, it's Alice who has the foul mouth
when she feels Ralph is up to no good. It was totally
unnecessary. This could have been a very cute film if
the writers and studio would have eliminated all the
gratuitous foul language.
Audrey Meadows would be horrified to hear such trash
talk coming from the character she worked so hard to
develop in the TV hit comedy series of the 50's starring
Jackie Gleason. In the original, no one doubted Alice's
toughness. All she had to do was put her hands on her
apron-wrapped waist and glare at her inept, but loving
husband, Ralph. (Patricia Heaton mastered that "look" in
what I consider a modern remake of "The Honeymooners" -
the hit series "Everybody Loves Raymond.")
These are only a few examples of movies that could have
been family-friendly with a little strategic tweaking.
Not one objectionable word, action, or innuendo would
have been missed if it had never been there in the first
Proof of this is found in the following news story about
a top-level studio executive who decided to retool a
near miss into a big hit. Here is how an entertainment
trade publication, Studio Briefing covered the story on
"In order to gain a PG rating for the new
Pink Panther movie, starring
Steve Martin, Sony movie chief
Amy Pascal ordered numerous cuts in the
film, including references to oral sex and erectile
dysfunction, the Los Angeles Times reported
today (Monday). She also approved an additional $5
million to re-shoot certain scenes and reedit
others. In an interview with the Times, Sony
distribution chief Jeff Blake gave the changes
credit for the unexpected victory at the weekend box
office. 'We were hoping for the widest possible
audience, and the PG really gave us an advantage,'
he said. Director
Shawn Levy conceded the point, saying
that until the cuts were effected, the film was 'not
clearly for families and it was not clearly for an
adult audience.... The tinkering that Sony requested
of me made the movie so much better.'"
Not one patron was quoted in the L.A. Times story
complaining that the movie was ruined by Sony's "Extreme
Makeover; Family Edition." Even, Shawn Levy, the
director agreed it made the movie better.
I am impressed by MS. Pascal's bold and fitting decision
to modify this made-for-the-family story into a version
that today's families can enjoy without equivocation. I
applaud her decisive actions, and hope others in
positions similar to hers will consider doing the same,
when good business practice dictates.
There is an old adage that you catch more bees with
honey than vinegar. Dove's position has always been that
of encourager and advocate, not condemner or warrior.
If more film makers can be encouraged to do what Amy
Pascal did, the entertainment industry would make a
revolutionary shift in content resulting in a dramatic
increase in profits. The family audience would be better
served. I believe millions of people who have been
disenchanted by today's risqué films would respond with
their dollars in support of such a shift toward
wholesome, uplifting entertainment choices.
Much of television has forsaken families in the past
decade, leaving them with few decent options. Have you
looked lately at programs that are being aired during
the so-called "Family Hour"? These audience members can
be easily won back into theaters by sensible,
strategic-thinking movie moguls who would take the time
to understand their tastes and preferences.
If you ever doubted there is a communications disconnect
between the Hollywood film community and the public,
here's an interesting statistic from NewsMax Online
referring to this year's Oscar nominees for Best
"When you add up the audiences for all five Best
Picture nominees, they don't even measure up to the
number of people who went to see 'The Chronicles of
Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.'"
I'm not suggesting that Hollywood turn out endless
remakes of "Curious George" or "Finding Nemo." But, the
relatively untapped Family audience has the potential
for being the largest segment of the movie-going
public—as evidenced by the fact that seven of the top
ten US box office hits of all time are Dove approved.
This proves that there is a real need for better
proportionality among film categories.
Producers, exhibitors, and consumers can all benefit
from more of the kinder, gentler stuff and less of the
extreme, excessive stuff.
The Dove Foundation is a
501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to
encourage and promote the creation, production,
distribution and consumption of wholesome family
entertainment. We are supported primarily by donations
from families such as yours who want to move Hollywood
in a more family-friendly direction. All donations are
Copyright © 2006 The Dove Foundation. All rights